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Josh Smith: Bluesman Plans European Tour

He’s just back from London, and will be leaving on tour in two days. I can hear both the fatigue and the determination in his voice.  Josh Smith is a very busy man.

Fortunately, Josh is also a multitasker.  He adeptly handles requests on both sides of the phone line while moving hurriedly through the mall.  There’s the interviewer on the telephone, and his young son by the musician’s side.  This afternoon’s mission is important.  Somehow and somewhere, a certain Samurai Power Ranger must be found before Dad can go on tour.

That tour will soon take the in-demand guitarist across the Atlantic.  There he’ll back soul singer Raphael Saadiq at several performances throughout western Europe.  Come mid May, Josh will headline his own European tour in support of the soon to be released album “I’m Gonna Be Ready”.

The new album will be familiar to some as the 2006 release “Deep Roots”.  Later this month that music will be made available to the European market for the first time, reissued as “I’m Gonna Be Ready” on the CrossCut Records label.  A bonus CD of four songs from Josh’s new all instrumental album “Inception” will be included with the first three thousand purchases.

Touring with Josh will be two longtime friends and musicians, John Yarling and Jeff Young, on drums and organ, respectively.  The trio plan thirteen appearances at clubs and blues festivals within a sixteen day span in Germany.  That does not include scheduled appearances on radio and television.

The headlining tour allows Smith the opportunity to introduce his original blues and roots music to a new and interested audience.  Josh has been playing guitar and writing music since childhood, playing lead guitar in adult bands from the age of thirteen.  Guitar great Jimmy Thackery once said of the young talent, “Josh is three heartbreaks away from being a true blues guitar genius.”

Josh has stayed true to his first love.  While his songwriting offers original music across a range of genres, the overall approach is from the perspective of a bluesman.  Says Josh, “I don’t feel like I will ever get that far from blues; in fact I kind of think that’s what after all these years, defines me as me…….everything that I play, be it some straight ahead rock and roll tune or jazz tune comes from the heart of a blues guy, you know.  So you’re going to get that feeling from me no matter what I’m playing. It’s kind of my calling card.”

From the album “Inception”, a Josh Smith original – “Penance”

The European tour also signals Josh’s intent to strike a new balance between doing “my own thing” and his work as a sideman.  Over the last few years Smith has played in support of Taylor Hicks, Raphael Saadiq, and Jennifer Hudson, among others.  That work has offered some unique and memorable opportunities. At this year’s Grammys, Josh was on stage and rocking with Saadiq and Mick Jagger as they performed “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”.

Josh describes both Saadiq and Jagger as consummate professionals.  Saadiq was focused and, as always, 100% committed to the song and performance.  Jagger made every rehearsal.  Following the Grammys, the rocker surprised each musician and crew member with a gift basket and personalized note of thanks.  It was a night to remember.

There will be more memories made throughout an exciting but hectic 2011.  Following his return from Europe, Josh plans to tour again with Raphael Saadiq.  He’ll also make time to promote “I’m Gonna Be Ready”, now planned for an April release in Europe, and a May release in the United States.  It’s a plan and schedule that may require super powers.  Luckily, there’s a Samurai on call.


For more on guitarist/singer/songwriter Josh Smith, including music and tour schedule:

To purchase “Inception” by Josh Smith:

Josh is on Facebook here:

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Louise #

    Thanks for this update on what is happening for Josh Smith. Josh is an amazing musician so reading that he is performing alongside these other great musicians makes me smile.
    The performance on the Grammy’s with Mick Jagger must have been a ‘pinch me’ moment for Josh. What a class act Mick and Rafael are. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for Josh in 2011 and beyond.
    Thanks THN!

    April 11, 2011
    • Thanks, Louise! Josh did say that he takes most performances in stride, but that the Grammys with Mick Jagger was really something special. He’s going to frame that note from Jagger!

      April 11, 2011
  2. tishtx #

    I’m so happy to see Josh moving ahead with his career. I know he will find some loyal fans on his tour through Europe.

    April 11, 2011
    • I think that the blues genre is currently more popular in Europe than the US. Josh had three separate record labels vying to release his album! He’s getting some good press in advance of the tour. I saw three separate articles posted in German. Cool!

      April 11, 2011
      • NolaMar #

        Yes, the blues are still very popular in Europe. And that reminds me of the French couple in front of me at the barricade yesterday at the French Quarter Festival. I tried to talk to them but they didn’t speak English. They were really loving it, especially the last band, John Mooney & Bluesiana. It makes me sad sometimes how much incredible talent there is out there that no one knows about or appreciates. Then certain pop stars (some with far less talent) get all the attention, fame, and money.

        April 11, 2011
  3. Barbie-flausa #

    thanks so much…for the up date…love the TRHTour band as much as the TRHLimbo guys…

    April 11, 2011
  4. NolaMar #

    Nice interview and article. Wishing Josh the best on the European tour, and can’t wait to buy the new CD in May. I was so excited to see him (and Raphael’s bass player) on the Grammys with Mick! I was screaming & jumping up and down. LOL

    Thanks for including Penance here. Enjoying it so much, and now need to go listen to the rest of Inception again.

    April 11, 2011
    • Thanks, NolaMar! I had trouble deciding which song to post; so many good choices on “Inception”. I just love the emotional guitar play on “Penance”. I’m hoping that eventually Josh will be able to tour his record in the US as well so that we can watch him play in person

      April 11, 2011
      • NolaMar #

        I love the whole CD, but Canyon is my favorite.

        April 11, 2011
  5. So sweet that he was shopping with his son and also that he made time to talk to you. I’m glad to hear this talented guy is having so much success! Thanks for your hard work in bringing us this update.

    April 11, 2011
    • Thanks so much, caryl! I could hear Josh’s son in the background very patiently waiting to get to the toy store. I had no idea that Power Rangers were still popular, but I guess they’ve had a resurgence!

      April 11, 2011

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